My Best Christmas Gift this Year is Something I Will Not Forget for the Rest of My Life

A gift I never thought I would wish for Christmas, and it’s not what you think.

Alvie Balquin
3 min readDec 24, 2021


Photo by Ekaterina Shevchenko on Unsplash

What’s your best gift this Christmas?

Maybe it’s the branded bag you’ve wished for.
The sneakers you keep eyeing in the mall.
Or a travel package you won at a Christmas Raffle.

I am happy for you.
I could imagine the smile on your face as you opened your gift.
Maybe, you were surprised and didn’t expect it.

My gift this Christmas is my best gift ever.
I never really longed for it before.
Not until last week.

Every day, I prayed hard for it to arrive.
I kept thinking about it that my work was affected.
I waited for it day and night.

Then last December 22, 2021, I was in our garden.
Somebody called my name.
The gift has arrived.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

“There’s water in the faucet,” my neighbor shouted.
At last, my gift has arrived before December 25.
I ran fast to check my faucet, and I almost cried.

Typhoon Odette ( International Name: Rai) hit the Philippines.
It was on the night of December 16, 2021.
The peak was from around 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM in my location.

How strong was Odette?

The estimated wind was 155 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of about 235 kph. Others said it’s even stronger.

It’s strong enough to uproot trees and topple electricity poles.

Photo by the Author

There’s no electricity and no water from then on.
So, I climbed the stairs to fetch water until the generators were on.
Mine is on the 5th floor, while others are on the 19th floor.

Some areas in the Philippines have no electricity and water yet.
Drinking water has doubled or tripled from its original price.
Indeed, scarcity increases the value of a commodity.

However, I know my situation is better than others.
While I had my struggles, it’s no comparison to those who lost a lot.
Some lost their houses, while others have to mourn for their family.

This Christmas, I wish Santa would extend my gift to others.
I hope there will be water and electricity soon in the affected areas.
And, may there be food on the table during the “Noche Buena.”

I will never forget you, Typhoon Odette.
I will remember the damages and the strife.
Water is life and my best gift, despite.

Photo Courtesy of Jenny Gumolon

Typhoon Odette, I will remember the lessons you brought this Christmas.
When things get rough, I need to be tough.
To constantly adapt and not to snap.

From now on, I will find joy in washing the dishes.
And even enjoy flushing the toilet 😁.

I don’t mind if you pass by again someday, Typhoon Odette.
But I hope you won’t be as fierce and ravage.

Just remind us that a storm is but a norm.
Sometimes it has to pass by to clear the sky.

Or for us to glimpse a rainbow from our window.

So long, Typhoon Odette.

Video from the Global News Youtube

NOTE: I’m writing this article during Christmas Eve. I miss the fireworks from my window. It’s challenging to have two crises simultaneously: COVID-19 and typhoon. But it is what it is. It is still Christmas, after all.

Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas to you.



Alvie Balquin

Agile Practitioner * 20+ years in software management * Technical trainer * Always a teacher by heart.